Official site of the Basset Hound Health Group
The Basset Hound Health Group - is run under the auspices of all 8 UK based Basset Hound Breed Clubs
The attractive thing about a basset hound are its ears. Long and silky, the trademark of the breed, those ears draw more attention to this dog than any other feature. There s hardly anything sweeter than an eight week old basset, racing along playfully, and tripping over its own ears into a headlong tumble. Most puppies of this breed have ears that drag the ground for most of the first six months.
The ear shape really does have a function. Along with modest wrinkles around basset s eyes and across their chests, along with the huge paws and the characteristic white-tipped tails, long ears are considered desirable in a scent hound. As the dog sniffs along its trail, the ears stir up the scent which is then captured by the wrinkles where the odour of the prey is kept strong.
Many people say the very length and weight of the ears makes them a source of health problems for these wonderful dogs. Because they drag along the ground, they constantly pick up dirt and dust from outside and germs and other household bacteria inside. Because they are long pinna and allow little air circulation inside the ear canal, they provide a breeding ground for yeast and other micro-organisms that can cause infections not so common to dogs with shorter ears. Not totally true but to keep a basset s ears healthy, it is extremely important to keep them clean - regular weekly cleaning and checks should keep any problems at bay.
You can buy ready-made ear cleaner from most pet shops or you can buy it from your Vet. As a substitute, you can use wet wipes or a half-and-half mix of white vinegar and water. The counteracts the climate that nourishes yeast and helps to reduce the likelihood of an infection. (Cotton wool balls are quite hard to get into the shaped cartilage, where as a wet wipe over your finger cotton wool pad - you are able to feel where your finger is in comparison to the dog' s ear - (never be tempted to use cotton buds, Q tips or probe too deeply into the ear you will only cause damage).
Start by doing the following:
Wash your hands so you don t introduce any nasty bacteria into your dog's ears and get the dog calm; make this enjoyable for your dog. With a lead attached, have the dog sit, and talk to him softly to keep him calm. Give him a pat around the ears and get him used to you touching the area. Treats are good especially for a younger Basset.
Cotton Wool Pads are ideal for cleaning Basset Hound s ears you can buy them in various sizes, very good when used in conjunction with cleaning products available from good pet shops or home made from the items listed above.
Soak a wet wipe in the ear wash solution and then squeeze out excess liquid so it s not dripping.
This diagram of the inner ear (right) shows the point in RED where your fingers or anything else should not venture past
Some people hold the ears like this but it is easier to fold the ear back over the dog s head/neck as it gives more stability as shown below
Wipe the inner ear flap now; gently rub the cotton pad to wipe out the inner surface of the dog s earflap. If the cotton pad becomes dirty, discard it and start a new one. If you notice a strong odour or yellow discharge while you are cleaning your dog s ears, consult a vet to be sure he doesn t have an ear infection.
A small amount of cleaner should be massaged into the dog s ear, remember not too much - you can add more if needed. Too much and the dog will shake its head to remove the excess. Leave for 5- 10 minutes this allows time for the cleaner to work on the wax.
Wipe the outer ear canal still using your cotton pad and cleaning solution, clean out only the part of your dog s ear canal that you can EASILY reach. Stop when you feel resistance-don't try to stick the cotton pad too far into the ear. Make sure you remove any debris, whether it s dirt, wax, grass or bugs! Who knows what you can find in a dog's ear? Praise your Basset and then repeat on other ear.
This shows the intricate inside of a Basset Hound s ear, it is a very healthy pink colour, should this area look inflamed (red) and/or is smelly you should visit your Vet without delay
Our sincere thanks to Linda Skerrit for allowing us to use some of her photographs
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There is nothing quite like the sight of pendulous ears hugging a beautiful face!
KC Breed Standard says: Set on low, just below line of eye. Long; reaching only slightly beyond end of muzzle of correct length, but not excessively so. Narrow throughout their length and curling well inwards; very supple, fine and velvety in texture.
The length of its ears has sometimes made the Basset Hound the object of fun and hilarity, many have become targets for the comical caricature.
Although the ears of a puppy look out of proportion to its body, by the time it reaches about 9 months it will have grown 'into' its ears. The ears on an adult usually measure between 10 and 12 inches in length as the photo below shows.
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